Volunteers & Donors Needed for the 9th ANNUAL 1st RESPONDERS CHRISTMAS DINNER


The staff met up with the 9th Annual 1st Responder Christmas Dinner Co-Chair Community Leader, Paul (Chez) Sanchez to learn the history or backstory of the 1st Responders Christmas Dinner held annually on Christmas Eve.

Chez explained he co-chairs this annual event with Patriot Guard State Captain and Deacon, Jim Ernst. Our Alamogordo and Ortero County community is asked to help join by donating food items and to assist. Per Chez, “we ask the community to help set up a huge potluck style dinner for the guys and gals that are covering our butts if a turkey blows up, a tree catches fire, or your brother-in-law gets hammered and decides to start a fight.” All said in the fun, the Chez way, of course.

The First Responders Christmas Dinner event began in 2012. Chez lived near the police and fire station and asked the first responders what they were doing for dinner Christmas Eve? They told him that they covered, and he thought back to his military days when several of the “on duty” staff ended up having a snickers bar and chips from the convenience machines on Christmas Eve.

He then stepped into action mode. In partnership with Jim Ernst, Chez began with the Alamogordo Fire Department and hosted the first Christmas Eve Dinner at the main fire station for the Fire, Police Officers and Dispatchers. The second or third year they expanded the invite list to include the Sheriff’s Department due to the huge outpouring of food from community members. The next year they expanded it even further to include the Border Patrol Officers and the Ambulance staff. Now even the on-duty State Police Officers join into the affair.

This is not a political event or an event where the Chiefs and leaders come in, but this is a grassroots community sponsored Christmas Eve dinner hosted at the facility of the Desert Hills Church of Christ and is open to all the hard working first responder guys and ladies on duty that are protecting us and keeping us safe on Christmas Eve,” said Chez.

This is the 9th Annual event. What Chez and Jim need is volunteers and food for the evening.

The great team of folks at the Desert Hills Church of Christ provide their fellowship room & kitchen, and the community sponsors bring the rest.

If any individuals or businesses can pitch in, please message Chez by text or calling 575-415-0524 or Instant Message him on Facebook at
with what you'd like to bring or how you can assist.

Volunteers are also needed to help set up, serve food, and clean up. Anyone you can sign up to help in any or all of the 3 areas, the event is happy to have help feeding the over 100 participants.

For food it is simple, pick ONE item off the list below and message Chez at 575-415-0524 or Instant Message him on Facebook at
with what you’d like to provide.

DO NOT feel that YOU have to make 2 items for them, the idea is for many people to do a little, not a few to do a lot, and if we don’t quite get what we need on the list by a day or two before, Chez will reach out and re-post or contact for more assistance.

On Christmas Eve…

Christmas Eve (24 Dec) drop off the prepared or purchased foot items, hot and ready, at the Desert Hills Church of Christ, 1900 23rd St, 88310, between 4-6 pm. There are not enough volunteers typically to go pick up from you except in exceptional cases. They cannot ake anything the day before because they don’t have place to store the food items.

Dinner for the 1st
Responders is a drop in beginning at 6pm sharp till clean up at 9:30. Then it's off to COPE & the Hospital Emergency Room with the leftovers that are left so that all the food is used.

Now it's your turn as a community supporter of our Alamogordo 1st Responders. Contact Chez with a confirmation of a donation below, or if you can come out and help. You can always message Chez on the "Otero Fire/EMS Appreciation Page".

Here’s the list of needed food items:

  • Turkey
  • Ham
  • Enchiladas
  • Lasagna
  • Posole
  • Cornbread
  • Stuffing
  • Au Gratin potatoes
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Gravy
  • Brisket
  • Green bean casserole

For these next items, feel free to just go to Walmart or Lowe’s or Albertson’s and get these from them. No one needs to make a cake for this dinner, unless you’re a baker…

  • Cranberry sauce
  • 4 PIES
  • 4 CAKES

And anything else we can put out, eat well and clean up easily. Of course, if you have any other Christmas tradition type meal/side dish, etc... please toss it in the pot! PLEASE put your personal dishes in disposable containers, sorting out who's dishes are whose is not fun...

The help for the dinner is just to set up and cleanup. The cleanup crew also helps us take the leftovers to COPE and the ER.

Set up is from 4pm to about 6:30pm.

Clean up begins about 9pm and we’re usually done with the deliveries by 10-10:30.

The Alamogordo community is a giving and sharing community. encourages the community to support Chez and Jim and let’s make this the best 1st Responder Christmas Eve Dinner yet and show our community support and pride for our 1st

For questions or to volunteer contact or message Chez at 575-415-0524 or Instant Message him on Facebook at

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